Founded in 1626, Maison Trimbach in Alsace, France stands among the world’s classic producers. Although the estate’s portfolio includes a wide array of wines from pinot noir to muscat to late harvest gewürztraminer, many consider Trimbach’s Clos Ste Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile to be the apex of Alsatian riesling.
With nearly 400 years of experience, Trimbach has seen Alsace change back and forth between French and German control a number of times. But one thing remains constant: Trimbach is a family-owned and operated enterprise.
Keep reading the The Daily Sip’s exclusive interview with Anne Trimbach, the eldest of Maison Trimbach’s 13th generation, to learn more about making and enjoying the wines of Alsace.
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about Alsace wine?
Alsace is complicated. Most of people think we produce just “little Alsace whites to drink young.” But we have 7 different grape varieties and at least 13 different types of soils. Alsace has some of the most wonderful and diverse terroir in the world. A customer who tastes a Riesling from limestone soil like Clos Ste Hune and then from Schlossberg, which is granitic soil, will see these are totally different worlds. Also, use residual sugar is still inconsistent. For example, Chablis is always dry. With Alsace, you never know. A riesling can sometimes be sweet, even when you expect it to be dry. Trimbach is always dry, though.
Having been part of both countries many times, do you think Alsace is more culturally French or German? Or is it something entirely different?
We feel French and from Alsace, more than German for sure. But there is no doubt Germany has influenced Alsace’s culture. We are quite unique!
How does Alsace produce riesling unlike any other place in the world?
Climate, terroir and men make it different. We do not copy, we have a uniqueness thanks to our mosaic of terroirs.
Your Clos Ste Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile are two of the most iconic rieslings in the world. What are your favorite foods to pair with these wines?
When “young,” Clos Ste Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile love to be next to noble fishes and white meats. Old ones can be enjoyed for themselves like great Champagne or with food with more butter and creaminess. Every Clos Ste Hune and Cuvée Frédéric Emile has several perfect pairings. I went to a Clos Ste Hune vertical (2007-1971) wine dinner, and it was amazing.
Of Alsace's four Grand Cru grape varieties - riesling, gewurztraminer, pinot gris, muscat - which is the hardest to grow?
Muscat and gewurztraminer are sensitive to “coulure” [shatter] at flowering and produce smaller yields. Pinot gris grows horizontally so difficult to “palisser” [enclose]. Riesling is actually the easiest to grow, technically speaking.
Dating back to 1626, Trimbach is one of the oldest wineries in Alsace. What do you think the future holds for Alsace wine?
Alsace has a treasure in its hands. There’s a wine for every moment, every dish; we just need to communicate that better for people to know. We have a great future ahead, in our point of view.
To learn more about Trimbach and Alsace wine, join us Thursday, June 11, 5-6pm PST/8-9pm EST for #SipWithKaren, a guided tasting on Twitter with Karen MacNeil!
What’s your favorite Alsace grape? Share with us below!
Photo Credit: Trimbach Estate, "Generations"